We enter another year – a year that many thought would find us home in heaven. Yet we are here and God’s longsuffering is being experienced by an unappreciative and mocking world. Every year carries with it tremendous potential for God. On at least three occasions in Scripture, attention is drawn to “this year.”
A Year for Reaping
The Lord Jesus recounted the parable of the barren fig tree. After three years of non-productivity, it was about to be cut down. The intercession of the dresser of the vineyard spared it. His words were, “Let it alone this year also” (Luke 13:6-9). The hope was for fruit to finally be seen. It would mean “digging about it” and fertilizing, care and interest; but the desire was for a time of reaping.
This year could be a time of reaping. It will demand work, prayer, faithfulness, energy, and sacrifice in the gospel, but “this year” could see many of those for whom we have prayed brought into the kingdom. May the Lord give us each a fresh vision of fields white unto harvest and fresh zeal to continue gospel efforts, both weekly in our halls, in outreach works, in tents, and special meetings.
A Year of Reversals
Few men have been called to face the persistent and vitriolic hatred of those to whom he ministered as was Jeremiah. Opposition arose from the court, elders, rank and file, his fellow townspeople in Anathoth, and his own family. The wind was constantly in his face; yet he continued faithful to the end. His vindications were few and far between. But one significant event occurred which showed that he was a prophet of God. Hananiah had confronted and attempted to refute Jeremiah’s action/parable of the yoke by breaking the yoke and proclaiming that God would break the siege by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah’s message to the false prophet was, “This year thou shalt die” (Jer 28:16).
God is the God of reversals. In a moment’s time he can reverse the events of society. He is able to bring about events which remind men of their frailty and smallness. The forces of nature make us cower. He is able to lift men up and put men down. It could be a year when God in mercy reverses the moral decline of our western society and men are reminded of eternity.
A Year for His Return
Every fiftieth year was a year of jubilee for Israel. “In this year of the jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession” (Lev 25:13 Darby). “This year of jubilee” was a time of release, rest, and reunion. While the events of that year for Israel pale in a side-by-side comparison with the glory linked with the rapture, they do serve as a reminder of what could occur “this year.”
Every generation of believers has lived in the expectation of His return. Perhaps we have lost sight and the hope is not before us as it ought to be. The “day star” has not arisen in our hearts as Peter intended (2 Peter 1:19). May it not be so!
A year for reaping, reversals, and His return – may we enter it conscious of all that could happen; and may we be the kind of people for whom it could happen.